Omicron Scare: Odisha Govt Imposes Restrictions For Christmas, New Year Celebrations

Bhubaneswar: Amid growing concerns over Omicron, the highly infectious new variant of the coronavirus, the Odisha government today issued a set of fresh guidelines keeping in mind the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

The fresh guidelines (restrictions) issued by the Office of the Special Relief Commissioner’s (SRC)  shall remain in force restrictions on 25th December 2021 and 31st December 2021 to 2nd January 2022.

According to the new guidelines, Christmas celebration shall be limited to Churches with a maximum of 50 (fifty) persons joining the mass by strictly following COVID protocols and in terms of specific conditions as imposed by District Magistrates/Municipal Commissioners/ Local Authorities while permitting such mass, if any.

Parties like Zero Night celebration, Welcome to New Year in hotels, clubs, restaurants, parks, convention halls, Kalyan mandaps, etc., have been completely banned across the State, the government said in the order.

“No celebration other than marriage (but not receptions and ancillary functions) is allowed across the State. No community feast is also allowed. No social gathering, rallies, orchestras, dances and other cultural programmes shall be permitted,” read the order.

Funeral rites are allowed with due Covid-19 protocols, the order added.

There will be strict vigilance on crowding and gathering during the above occasions, the order said.

Earlier, in its guidelines for December, the state government had imposed some restrictions on religious festivals and functions. However, more restrictions have been imposed as in the past few days the State has reported four Omicron cases, the order said.

District collectors, Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police commissioner and municipal commissioners have been asked to scrupulously implement these guidelines and take all possible measures to enforce the guidelines.

They have been authorized to impose any additional restrictions as may be felt necessary in the interest of containment of spread of Covid-19 and to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour is followed by all concerned.

The order says that any person violating the above guidelines, he/she will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and COVID-19 Regulations 2000, besides legal action under Sec. 188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.